Ready Fire! An event inspired by a 9 year old boy
It goes without saying to most who have found The Barry Farm, we like to have people to the farm. Every month there is an event and often times more than one. As part of refining our process and continuing to evolve as hosts, farmers and friends we have felt that we were missing an opportunity to make our events the most meaningful as they can be. A dinner party or butcher class on the farm is very unique! We get rave reviews from friends new and old about just how special this thing we do is. Each event includes a tour of the farm. On the tour we introduce friends to both the process we use to care for our animals and the products that they become. It may sound strange but this makes perfect sense to most when we explain that if we didn't eat them, none of this would exist. The whole communal eating, the romantic setting, the relaxed country feel all goes away. After a long walk through the pastures explaining the art of pasture based farming and realizing the part each animal plays in making a farm flourish, we retire to the front lawn of the farmhouse for dinner. As a host, I can almost feel and taste the nervousness of both the kitchen and the guests. After all, what we have asked them to do, very few have any experience from which to draw on. How can you prepare yourself for getting this close to your food and the people that make it happen? What if the food sucks? What if I have to pee, where do I go? Do I have to use my best manners? Can I take pictures of your home? All these thoughts, which quickly become answered, swim throughout the first course as the sun sets in the pasture at the foot of the table. The edison bulbs above now cast a warm sepia glow over glasses and silverware. The bar by the cistern and corrugated metal building are warm to the touch from the recently set sun and alive with activity as the guests settle into relief that this is very normal and is setting a new standard. Is this how we are suppose to live, we ask through entree's? And as we become familiar and settle into our place at the farm, I light the fire pit on the lawn. The smell of oak and the crackle of new wood shooting embers toward the country sky changes the whole course of dinner. It is the missing element. It becomes the uniting force to an experience so unique that it begs for something grounding and familiar. Fire was missing.
Our family doesn't watch TV. We own one and sometimes watch DVD's on it but, we are much more of a Netflix kind of family. The selection for what we watch in the evening means it has to be agreed upon by all 4 of us and appropriate for kids. Since food has all but taken over our lives we often find ourselves watching things related to food, or "The A team". The kids really are into "The A Team". One evening we were watching PBS's "Mind of a Chef" and it was featuring the cooking of Francis Mallman. Seamus ( 9 ) was like a sponge soaking up the whole story. He was devouring the whole process from fly fishing to cooking on the beach, to fire in the snow, to burying vegetables in the ground. I've never seen a kid take to a cooking show or process like this. The inevitable question from a young boy came excitedly, "Dad, when can we do that?" Not one to ever temper his adventurous side I said, "let me ask chef".
This April 9th is the convergence of our farm's process, our family's desire to be known and the friendships we are building. This event already feels like fire to me as it is crackling, new, romantic and powerful all at the same time. Only at The Barry Farm will something like this happen in Houston. Transparent farming, transparent living and now transparent cooking intersect on the beautiful place that is our farm. We would be honored if you would take this journey with us. It won't be quick as we don't want to rush this process, but there will be food and drink and fire and community being built. I'm learning that this is what farms are made for.